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Effect of crosslinking on the mobility of PDMS filled with polysilicate nanoparticles: Positron lifetime, rheology and NMR relaxation studies

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

C A Dreiss, T Cosgrove, N J Benton, D Kilburn, M A Alam, R G Schmidt, G V Gordon

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4419 - 4428
Number of pages10
Issue number15
Published13 Jul 2007

King's Authors


We study the effect of adding trimethylsilyl-treated polysilicate nanoparticles (Rg similar to 2.2 nm) to crosslinked poly(dimethylsiloxane) (PDMS) elastomers above the entanglement molecular weight. The results are compared to un-crosslinked PDMS of a similar molecular weight, reported in previous studies and filled with the same polysilicate nanoparticles. Three techniques are used and compared to assess the enhancement or reduction in mobility with addition of filler: positron annihilation lifetime spectroscopy (PALS), rheology and nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spin-spin relaxation (T-2) measurements. PALS measurements do not show any clear effect of the filler on the mobility of the chains, as assessed by the size of free volume holes, but reveal a net increase in free volume with temperature increase (from 30 degrees C to 60 degrees C). A reduction in the dynamic shear storage modulus (measured at 1 rad s(-1)) is observed in the filled network relative to the unfilled polymer (from 63 kPa without filler to 44 kPa with 40 w/w% filter), attributed primarily to a partial inhibition of the chemical crosslinking reaction by the particles. The NMR relaxation measurements, instead, show a reinforcement of the polymer network with increasing addition of polysilicate particles, as revealed by the faster T2 decays at higher filler loadings, caused by increasing polymer bridging and particle flocculation. Similar trends are observed at higher temperatures (up to 80 degrees C), with a higher overall mobility. The apparent disagreement between rheology and NMR stems from the fact that theology reflects bulk mobility and is primarily sensitive to chemical crosslinks in the network, while NMR probes segmental dynamics, which are affected by the presence of particles. In un-crosslinked PDMS instead, both rheology and NMR show an initial increase in mobility at low filler content, followed by reinforcement with further particle addition. These results strongly suggest that entanglements and filler-induced packing disruption, rather than free volume, play a major role in polymer dynamics. (c) 2007 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved

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